Floor marking is the practice of using tape on the floors in factories, warehouses, and other facilities to clearly indicate walkways, entrances, exits, and storage areas.

The practice of floor marking is a component of 5S — a lean manufacturing system for organizing spaces so work can be performed efficiently, effectively, and safely.

Floor markings are also used as part of risk management strategies, particularly in logistics settings where the risk of pedestrians being hit by vehicles is large. With the right level of slip resistance included, facility managers can also significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls, thereby preventing more frequent and less severe accidents.

The pandemic, however, has given us a greater need for floor marking. With a simple application of tape, workplaces can encourage spacing, direct foot traffic, and mark safe evacuation or emergency routes.

With floor marking being more prevalent than before, it's important to take special care when designing your floor marking system.

Make Sure Your Floor Markings Are Clear

Clarity and precision are the key to effective messaging. The same applies to your floor marking system.

When using it to encourage social distancing, make sure they are positioned six feet apart to immediately indicate where workers or visitors should stand in relation to each other.

(Learn How to Master the Science of Sign Visibility)

Whether your markings are circles, squares, foot print, triangles, or diamonds, make sure they are bright colors and hard to miss.

You can also get your employees involved in the placement of these signs.

Follow the Natural Flow of Your Workplace

The best method to determine where your floor marking should be placed is through observation. Watch traffic patterns and intersections. Are workers doubling back? Are people and vehicles getting in each other’s way?

Once you’ve identified problematic areas, then you can start setting, ordering, and standardizing your floor marking.

Ensure Quality

Some facilities have their own internal paint and sign shops. They can do anything from simple paint markings to metal road signs. They use various materials to adhere to different surfaces.

If you're not equipped to create high-quality floor marking systems, you can hire out consultants to supply your facility with the right supplies, help you with the designs, and assist in the application of the floor markings.

(Learn more in 8 Considerations for Using and Choosing Floor Marking Tape)

Consider Your Color Choices

Colors need to stand out and be clearly seen. On stairs, for example, it’s important to show a clear difference between the floor surface and the edge of each step.

Consider creating your own matrix and set color standards and guidelines for aisles, defects, tools and equipment, keep clear for electrical panels, caution, and fire safety

OSHA has not recommended any color guidelines, so these decisions are up to your organization. The important thing is to be consistent and make sure everyone knows and understands the color standards you've implemented.

Use Sturdy Materials

Floor marking supplies need to be tough enough to withstand hours of traffic from people, carts, and vehicles. That durability will save you time, since replacing floor marking tape can be a huge job that might take hours.

Replacement cycles vary depending on a few factors - primarily the quality of the product chosen, the environmental conditions, how it's cleaned, and the level of foot traffic

Tape selection can be tricky. Depending on the different types of flooring surfaces - smooth, porous, epoxied, wood (as found in old mills), some may require heavy duty tape while others can make do with relatively thinner or more stretchy types of tape.

Installation

To properly install the tape, clean the floor first, dry the floor really well, lay it down, and press the tape into the floor. Once it's affixed, tamp the tape with the rear wheel of a fork lift.

Make Your Mark

Floor marking tape is one of those solutions that is both incredibly simple and highly effective.

To get the most out of it, however, you should follow the best practices outlined in this article. When your floor markings are clear and eye-catching, there won't be any confusion about where people or equipment are meant to go.